Ban on Polls Before Elections Extended from 14 to 50 Days

Ban on Polls Before Elections Extended from 14 to 50 Days

Bratislava, October 28 (TASR) – The ban on publishing relevant public opinion polls before elections in Slovakia has been extended from 14 days to 50 days, Parliament decided on Monday.

The provision will also concern the general election due in four months.

Several parliamentary parties complained about significant differences in results of public opinion polls, even those released in short succession.

“We believe that this law won’t restrict voters’ right to access to information, as it’s in fact been designed to protect voters from disinformation and purpose-built information,” reads a report accompanying the bill.

The bill will probably end up at the Constitutional Court, said co-governing Most-Hid MP Peter Kresak, while opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Alojz Branik said separately the same thing.

Instead of extending the moratorium, Kresak said that he’d have liked to shorten it to a mere two days, as proposed by Independent MP Katarina Csefalvayova.Most-Hid chair Bela Bugar noted that the law was passed partly thanks to votes from the far-right LSNS.

Meanwhile, OLaNO chief Igor Matovic said that even though he doesn’t view the law as correct, he doesn’t deem it unconstitutional.

Csefalvayova stated that she believes the president will veto the bill.

Should President Zuzana Caputova return the bill to Parliament, she’d prevent undemocratic change of rules shortly before the general election, said the independent MP.

Csefalvayova is concerned that such an unreasonable long period is contrary to the Constitution. “Any ban on publishing polls is restricting the public’s basic right to be informed. The right can be restricted only if it’s deemed essential to protect interests, rights and other freedoms in a democratic society. What’s worst given the current age of hybrid threats, the approved bill leaves an open door for conspirators, extremists, propaganda and spreading of false news,” she added.